Kids Need To Read

I saw this and thought of people here--literacy promoting and Serenity/Firefly! What else could Shakers want, eh?

Nathan Fillion, or Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds from Firefly, has partnered with author PJ Haarsma to start a foundation called Kids Need To Read (KNTR).
KNTR has this as its mission statement:
* To purchase books by raising funds through auctions, sales of merchandise and other available means
* To provide books to libraries, schools and other institutions in need
* To provide books to low income children through established institutions
* To foster a love for reading in all children
* To encourage reading among reluctant readers
* To encourage the discovery of excellent, lesser known books
* To look for new ideas to encourage childhood literacy and make those ideas known
One way that they're working at encouraging reading among reluctant readers and helping to foster a love of reading in kids is by creating a MMORPG, Rings of Orbis, which is intertwined with the work of PJ Haarsma's The Softwire series. According to KNTR: "The concept behind the creation of Rings of Orbis was to build a multi-media platform to attract kids who normally would not pick up a book for recreation. The game has over 6,000 registered players of all ages." The only way to become the most powerful citizen in Orbis is to read the books, as you have to answer questions and have knowledge from the books to advance in the game. As each book in the series comes out, the game also expands.

Two other authors have recently signed on to contribute to the project: Frank Beddor, author of The Looking Glass Wars trilogy; and Robin Brande, author of Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature (which was named one of ALA's Best Books for Young Adults 2008).

At the KNTR homepage, you can find information on how to donate to them, if you're so inclined. They have donation packages set up that start at $5 and go up to $95 and each comes with a thank-you gift (you can also donate directly w/o choosing a package). Another way they are raising money for the foundation is to have weekly auctions, sometimes of items signed by the various actors from Serenity/Firefly, of items inspired by the show/characters, and also other unique items. This week's auction is River's necklace, a character inspired work. The community site has the auctions and also has their news updates, FAQ, list of books they donate, a list of libraries donated to, and other information. Check it out!

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